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Missing Staunton Hiker Presumed Dead, Search Ends - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Missing Staunton Hiker Presumed Dead, Search Ends

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The search is over for missing hiker Robert "Bobby" Fitzgerald, the 60-year-old Staunton man who disappeared on the Confederate Breastworks trail last November. Search teams have scoured 4,000 acres of land to find him.

Thursday the Augusta County Sheriff's Office held a press conference on the case, saying Fitzgerald is presumed dead at this point.  Investigators say there's no way he could have survived by this point, and they also have no reason to believe he would have run off.  Investigators believe Fitzgerald either got trapped in between trails and died after an injury, or may have been accidentally shot since it was during hunting season.

Augusta County Sheriff Randy Fisher says he believes they will eventually find his body, and would expand the search again."There are a lot of animals out there that could just spread his remains over several hundred yards, so then it becomes a large death scene investigation."

Now loved ones are seeking closure for their loss. Family and friends have raised $25,000 for the Bobby Fitzgerald Fund, to go to anyone who can help find Fitzgerald's remains.  The family's attorney, Glendon Gill, announced that the reward is up for grabs to anyone who has a tip leading them to the body.

Loved ones who set up the fund will still accept donations for that until August 15. If you are interested in donating, the forms can be picked up at the Staunton - Augusta YMCA.  If they don't find his remains, all the money raised will go to charity.

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